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Lancaster man jailed after crashing car, firing weapon into Ohio Christian University building

Vale Raburn
Pickaway County Sheriff's Office
Vale Raburn, 24, of Lancaster, faces multiple charges after authorities say he crashed his car and shot into building on Ohio Christian University's Circleville campus Wednesday morning.

A man is in jail after authorities say he crashed his car into a building and fired shots at Ohio Christian University in Circleville this morning.

Pickaway County authorities were alerted just before 6 a.m. that a car had crashed into Ohio Christian University's Ministry and Performing Arts Center.

When officers and deputies arrived, they found Vale Raburn, 24, of Lancaster, by a firepit holding a gun.

Pickaway County Sheriff Matthew Hafey said during a news conference that at one point, the suspect was on the phone with a negotiator when his phone died.

"But our deputies on the scene just picked up and they started talking to the gentleman. And everything turned out well. He peacefully surrendered," Hafey said.

After about two hours of negotiating, Raburn was arrested without incident.

"I was happy with the way everything went, especially with the response from law enforcement when they were on the scene. I think we did everything by the book in terms of alerting our students as well as faculty and staff," said Anthony Dillard, the university's chief of security.

A motive for Raburn's alleged actions was not immediately clear.

Dave Hirschler, OCU's director of marketing communications, said the outcome of Wednesday's incident could have been much more serious.

"[But] regardless, by the tenets of our faith, God is in control and he is Sovereign, and so we trust Him in the good and in the bad and we'll try to find what His will is through the process," Hirschler said.

Raburn—whom authorities said is not an OCU student—faces charges that include inducing panic, improper handling of a firearm while in a motor vehicle, vandalism and disrupting public services.

Matthew Rand is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. Rand served as an interim producer during the pandemic for WOSU’s All Sides with Ann Fisher.